24.01.2011 - 27.01.2011 31 °C
We got to Singapore around noon and took the metro into the city. Our bags are the heaviest they've been so it was quite the task to take the train for over an hour with multiple changes, then walk through Chinatown in the extreme heat to find our hotel. We finally found it though and it was in the perfect location - right in the middle of all the action in Chinatown.
right in the middle of the action in Chinatown
We had lunch at a street vendor and started walking around for a bit but it was way too hot to do anything so we went back to our hotel and waited until later to venture out again. That evening we went to a street market, which wasn't as successful for us as previous ones have been, and went to see a temple on our way to Little India. We ate some Indian Food at a local place (we were the only tourists there) and still have found that not too spicy to an Indian person means you'll be wiping away tears to eveyone else.
We went back to Chinatown and walked around the different stalls, and it seemed like the rest of the country was doing the same thing - it was so packed! The infomercial street was particularly interesting - people with microphones showing off different products. We also stayed to watch a Chinese New Year performance for a bit. For those of you at home, this Chinatown is completely different than the one we are used to, and from any of the ones we have experienced in Southeast Asia. It's very clean, no unpleasant odours to speak of, with many colourful and charming buildings. Basically, our previous notions of Singapore turned out to be true - a VERY clean and modern city. While walking around, we commented on how all the buildings look brand new. Later, our cab driver told us of a law where buildings must be renovated every five years. You can tell this is a country that strives for perfection.
a little different than Yonge/Bloor station
As we were heading out the next day, George noticed a street vendor outside of our hotel that carried loads of the pinapple tarts we loved in Malaysia. We were so excited we ended up buying about seven containers of them. So maybe we went a little overboard, but they were so good! After that we walked around a large indoor market in Chinatown, then met up with our British friends who we initially met in Vietnam and did basically the same trip only a few days apart from each other. We ate at a Vietnamese restaurant (how fitting) and shared our experiences - we loved this place, hated this place, and got ripped off at this place! We took the train together and parted ways, as they were flying home that night and us the next morning.
our British friends Claire and Gareth - we all look a little more sun-kissed than when we first met
The rest of the day was spent walking around the city and seeing the tallest ferris wheel in the world as well as the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, a really cool structure that George was gawking at for a while (he saw it on the Discovery Channel). We also walked down a street very similar to Bloor Street except more modern and upscale and went into some malls that were a little out of our price range (by little we mean a lot). We came to the conclusion that Singapore is one of the highest end cities that probably exists. For the last night of our trip, we ate at another food stall in Chinatown and enjoyed the sights and sounds of Singapore, the perfect city to end our journey with.
apparently circling the Fountain of Wealth three times brings you wealth - is it wrong that we circled it 27 times?
another Discovery Channel episode come to life
nothing bettter than phad thai for our last meal
The next day we began our long 20 hour journey home and although we were sad that our travels had come to an end, we were excited to see our family and friends again. Our flight from Singapore to Beijing was fine, however, once landing in Beijing we learned that our flight to Toronto had been cancelled! We were not prepared for this and were very frustrated to find that the Chinese Air Canada staff was less than helpful and pretty much didn't know what they were doing. After arguing with them for another way home, being walked around the airport three times for immigration, and dealing with the staff who always had a dumbstruck look on their faces for some reason, it was clear we were spending the night in Beijing.
Besides not being able to see our families for another day, it didn't end up being too bad since our hotel was very nice (our suite had two bathrooms! A far cry from a box with a toilet and showerhead next to it) and we had buffet meals, which George was extremely excited about. It looks like things are on track today as we sit here in the airport and wait for our flight to board. And so our journey has come to an end. We've had a spectacular time and have learned a lot about the world and each other over the last two months (George can be very assertive if he has to be!). We've visited some places that have made us appreciate our country so much more and some places even Canadians could learn a lot from. We've listened to war stories, met incredibly resiliant and kind people, watched sunsets on top of thousand year old temples, bathed with elephants, and experienced what the future of technology looks like. It has been an incredible adventure and although our love for travelling has only gotten stronger, so has our love for our families. We can't wait to see you all!
Until the next adventure...
finally on our way home